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Green tea from Japan to be tested for radiation

2014/10/29 18:13:13

Taipei, Oct. 29 (CNA) Sweets, cookies and teas and tea products imported from Japan into Taiwan will be subject to tests for radioactive substances beginning next year, the acting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) director-general said Wednesday.

Chiang Yu-mei said that under the proposed measure, importers of the Japan-made items will not be able to apply for the necessary imported food inspections unless the products come with radiation examination certificates from the Japanese government.

The new measure is expected to take effect next year, Chiang said in response to a post by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Shu-fen on her Facebook page that criticized the government for not checking Japanese green tea products for radioactive substances.

In the post dated Oct. 29, Lin questioned the surge in green tea drinks imported from Japan into Taiwan over the past three years even though green tea leaves in Japan had tested positive for radioactive substances since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

"Do you know that since the Fukushima disaster, imports of Japanese green tea have increased dramatically? Do you know that Japanese green tea has often tested positive for radiation?" Lin asked in her post.

In defending Taiwan's practices on Japanese food imports, the FDA has repeadly stressed that Taiwan suspended imports of food items from five Japanese prefectures near the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant days after the facility suffered a meltdown in March 2011.

The temporary ban, imposed on foods from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures, remains in effect today, the agency said.

In addition, batch-by-batch inspections for radioactive substances have been enforced on eight major types of foods produced in other parts of Japan since then, the FDA said

The tests cover fresh and chilled vegetables and fruits, frozen vegetables and fruits, live and chilled fishery products, frozen fishery products, dairy products, products for infants, mineral water or other types of drinking water, and seaweed, it said.

(By Chen Ching-fang and Elizabeth Hsu)
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